I do read a fair amount of history books, but this topic didn't especially interest me in advance. I just figured I probably should know something about where English comes from. Very pleasantly surprised. A lot of information ina short time. Some fascinating insights into how languages work generally and there are scores of words I think about differently now. Also, the narrator is perfect for this. How did they even find someone who could do the old English so well?
This book is fantastic. The subject is fascinating. The performance is engaging. The scope is breathtaking. The material will be interesting to everybody who has ever wondered about the origins of certain English words or has a general interest in language. This is a truly wonderful book whose title is very appropriate. It is truly an adventure.
Reader, writer, quilter, needleworker, Kentuckian.
I will definitely listen to this audiobook repeatedly. The story it tells is rich and layered, and will enlighten anew each time I listen. The narrator, Robert Powell, shows a wonderful talent for language himself, giving the text even more relevance by properly using the language and dialects which the book highlights. It is delightful.
I wouldn't compare it to specific book, but rather to a combination of lectures by Professor Michael Drout (fabulous) and books by Bill Bryson (usually quite good). It has a strong sense of scholarship, hence Drout, but a good narrative thread and humor, thus Bryson. Drout also has a good narrative thread, but his lectures are just that, and not meant to be a cohesive book-length story.
None particularly; it is all good. But I did enjoy the section on Shakespeare quite a bit.
No, probably not. It's a lot to absorb in one sitting; nonfiction tends to be too meaty to chew at once. I did listen to it more or less consistently over the course of several days, without interruption of other audiobooks but an occasional foray into ebooks or television/ movies. It's not meant to be a story that drives you toward an ending.
Robert Powell is phenomenal, and I cannot imagine this book without his skills with language and dialect. Mr. Bragg's material and writing style are excellent and I loved them. But without Mr. Powell's masterful command of the material, I would not have been able to discern the nuances of accents, dialects and the changes in pronunciation and emphasis over time. It really is a book better listened to than read, and Mr. Powell is the perfect reader. Thank you so much for combining them!!
Melvyn Bragg has done a wonderful job telling the story of the English language. From its beginnings in Sanskrit (who knew?!) through the development of "Singlish" (Singaporean English), he brings to light facinating information about words, phrases, and terms developed by English-speaking cultures around the world. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in language.
I was thoroughly enjoying listening to Robert Powell read the book until the American English chapters. I feel another narrator should have stepped in to perform the English dialects. It really ruined the rest of the book for me. I may have a more sensitive ear for such things, but it was silly hearing him say
Robert Powell reads Old English, Jamaican English and everything in between. He's not perfect — some of the words in the Cowboy chapter have echoes of citified Easterner, so I'm sure that other people will detect errors in the accents they know well — but he's close enough to illustrate all the points clearly. A tour de force and a treat for the listener.
Recomend for anyone who is interested in language or history, and since the two are always braided together, you won't be disappointed by this book. The narration is superb, which makes listening to this book much better than reading so you don't have to muddle your way through the pronunciation of ancient "gutteral Germanic" words.
An enlightened ascetic who loves language and learning.
A masterpiece of meticulous linguistic and historical research made intelligible to the interested laymen. So exquisite is the elocution of the narrator, so impressive is his mastery of several spoken languages, that it must be heard, not merely read.
This book was such a disappointment. Perhaps the second half would have been better but I couldn't get there. I am shocked that it received high ratings from others - what a disappointment. I want my credits back!